There’s a myth going around.
Ask anyone the best way to get noticed online, chances are they’ll say: “Just produce more content!”
Or, “Just write more books!”
Or, “Start a podcast! Shoot some videos! Write more blog posts!”
Somehow it’s as if flinging out random content into the world will somehow magically help you grow your audience and find more readers.
If you’ve ever tried that approach, I’m betting you burned out pretty quick.
Overwhelm is a killer. And so is bad advice. When you don’t know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, it’s no wonder people struggle to grow their businesses.
My favorite approach: find someone who’s found success and model their approach to your own business.
And that’s what my email is all about today.
My friend Nick Stephenson has just released a free online training series that breaks down how he went from a struggling graduate trying to find work to a business owner and author bringing in 7 figures a year.
Using ebooks and publishing.
The first video in this free video training series is out right now for a limited time – in this session Nick explains the 5 top struggles that online business owners face, and the super-specific 3 step formula you can use to overcome them.
Go watch the video below:
Just click the link above, enter your email address, and you’ll get access to the first video right away. Then Nick will send you the rest of the training series when it’s ready.
In this free video training series you’ll also learn:
Over the course of 3 videos, Nick’s going to break it all down for you.
But for now, go watch Video 1 below:
And Nick will be sure to send you the rest of your free training as soon as it’s ready.
As always, happy marketing!
The Blond Guerrilla
As you know, I'm always looking for easy and effective methods for growing my audience of awesome and enthusiastic readers. I also feel very passionate about sharing what I learn along the way so I can help other authors save time and create success for themselves.
I think many of us are aware that giveaways can be a fun and effective way to add new readers to our audience, but one tool for giveaways I'd like to discuss is the KingSumo Giveaway plug-in for Wordpress.
I first discovered KingSumo through Nick Stephenson in his online course and decided to take his advice, grab the plug-in for myself, and get to work on building my own list through these types of giveaways. I've done three so far and couldn't be happier with the results. I've also learned some new ninja skill to go with it every time I use it. So I'd love to share those tips and tricks with you today.
Something that is incredibly advantageous about KingSumo is their sharing widget that encourages people to share the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest once they've entered. One might wonder why anyone would want to share a giveaway they're actually entering. Seems like the more people who enter, the less likely they are to win. Which is why everyone receives a certain amount of entries for every person they refer. It gives them an incentive to share and still ups their chances of winning.
If you already have a Wordpress website then you can easily get the plug-in by going to this link here. If you don't have one you'll need to get that set-up first.
Once you get the plug-in and fill out all of the settings, then you can create the actual giveaway. When you're considering the kind of prize you want to give, make sure that it is the kind of prize that will entice the right kind of entrants. In other words, if you're selling custom designed jewelry and you want to build and audience of avid jewelry fans, then the big prize should have something to do with jewelry. Maybe a one-of-a-kind necklace or a gift card to a particularly popular jewelry store.
In our case, we're looking for voracious readers who love our genre of books. A great way to attract readers to your giveaway is by giving away an ereader like a Kindle Fire HD or a Nook. I always do Kindle Fires. It's been my experience that more people will enter for a chance to win that particular ereader.
Nick Stephenson suggested that authors throw in a bonus gift just for entering the contest. I've found this method to be very effective because it gives every entrant a chance to win something even if they don't win the Kindle Fire in the end. So I offer each contestant a free ebook copy of one of my books. I've offered The Healer and My Fair Assassin in previous giveaways.
The most recent KingSumo giveaway I did was for Valentine's Day. I decided to stick with the romance theme and used a free ecopy of my romance novel Marry Your Billionaire as the bonus gift.
Here is what one of those giveaways looked like once it was all set up.
As you can see, I offer every entrant a free ebook. This method helps you determine which entrants to keep on your list once the giveaway is over. Not everyone who wants a Kindle Fire is going to love YA romantic fantasy, but by offering something of great value that targets readers (Kindle Fire) and then offering a genre specific item (ebook), you can certainly narrow those leads down to people who are going to want to be a part of your audience.
I also let people know that they will receive the free book in an email once I announce the winner of the giveaway so they know to expect it. Once a person enters the giveaway they see a sharing widget that looks like this.
As you can see, the widget allows people to earn more entries by sharing, and the more they share the more entries they receive.
Let's talk about actual numbers, though. In my first giveaway that ran for two months I had 5,409 entries. The two month giveaway was way too long. Most people who entered didn't remember the giveaway and were a little suspicious until they saw the free ebook download link.
I did a joint giveaway with some other authors for three weeks and we had a total of 1803 entries. A little low considering how many people were involved, but I think it was because it was a bit last minute and we weren't able to advertise it like I wanted to.
This last one with just me running it got me 2,057 entries. That was also a three week giveaway and advertised a little better.
By this last one I realized that an incredibly smart thing to do when advertising these giveaways is to actually hit up blog tour companies who have tons of bloggers on their email lists. These bloggers generally have a large following of people. so when a blog tour organizer sends out an email about your giveaway you'll have lots of bloggers interested in posting about your giveaway on their blogs.
The key is making sure you find the right blog tour websites and the right bloggers to fit your genre. The people who set-up the blog tours can help you with that. I used Parajunkee.com when I did my giveaway with The Healer as a free incentive.
For the Valentine's Day giveaway I got a hold of two different blog tour organizers to cater to their romance audiences. Bewitching Book Tours and Enchanted Book Promotions did a great job in marketing my giveaway to their romance audiences and scheduling promos with two to three different blogs each day of the giveaway. The fee for each was about $50.00 and well worth it.
You can also list your giveaway on sites like Giveaway Promote, Online Sweepstakes, and Contest Girl to name a few. The leads won't be as targeted since you're not broadcasting your giveaway on a genre specific blog or website, but your reach is fairly incredible depending on what package you get and which sites you choose to advertise your giveaway on.
Plus, whether people are interested in your book or not, they will most likely be sharing the giveaway to get more entries so they can win that Kindle Fire.
Easiest thing to do is to simply Google "giveaway directories" and start posting to as many websites as you can, especially the ones that allow you to list your giveaway for free.
Once you've set up the giveaway, advertised the giveaway, and finished your giveaway, you need to pick a winner and send out a mass email. You can integrate KingSumo with autoresponders like AWeber and Mail Chimp by creating a separate list for that specific giveaway. Then anyone who enters is automatically added to that list, which makes sending out a broadcast to only those who entered the giveaway incredibly easy.
The moment the giveaway ends, I like to send out a broadcast email thanking everyone for entering and letting them know that the winner will be announced the next day. Until then, they are welcome to collect their bonus gift for entering the giveaway. I then include the download link for their free ecopy of whatever book I'm giving away through BookFunnel. It's the easiest way for them to download the book and allows them to download it in their preferred format.
If you haven't checked BookFunnel out yet I would do it as soon as possible. Makes things so much easier.
The next day, I send out another email announcing the winner and reminding them to grab their free book by including that same download link. The day after that, I thank them again for entering the giveaway and remind them just once more to grab their free book.
I usually wait about a week after that before I clean house. By then, anyone truly interested in my book will have clicked on the link and downloaded it. Those are the folks I keep. Anyone who didn't click on the download link are probably folks who don't like YA romantic fantasy or whatever genre of book I'm offering. So I cut them loose. No sense keeping people who don't like my genre of writing.
I've grown my list by about six thousand with three giveaways, and I'm here to tell you it's pretty awesome. My new subscribers are very engaged. I also make sure to send out a welcome email to them about a week after the giveaway just to let them know what they can expect from me and that they are free to unsubscribe if they would rather not hear from me again.
But many people have stayed the course and become some of my most avid readers.
So if you're interested in using this amazing tool to grow your mailing list for whatever business you're running, I highly recommend you start utilizing KingSumo as soon as possible.
Once again you can grab that beautiful tool below.
I really hope this helps you as much as it has helped me, and remember to get creative with it. Collaborate with other authors with joint giveaways and grow your audience as fast as you can!
And as an added resource, I highly encourage you to take a look at the Written Word for more email marketing strategies for building and managing your list. You can read their tips and advice for authors here.
Happy list building author friends!
The Blond Guerrilla
I'm really excited to share some information about a website that helped me gain an extra 3,500 subscribers to my mailing list within three months. This website continues to net me some wonderful, targeted leads at a very affordable cost.
Which website do I speak of?
*Insert triumphant music here*
Instafreebie is what I consider a no-brainer move to make when it comes to employing strategies for building your list and growing your fan base. It was created in 2014 with the sole purpose of getting author's stories out there to more readers. For authors, this is an opportunity to have instant access to some fairly voracious readers. For readers, they get sneak peeks, free books, and access to giveaways that help them discover your writing.
What's so brilliant about this process is the way your books are delivered to prospective readers.
And guess what happens when they enter their email address to grab your free book? That's right. You have another potential fan to add to your subscriber base.
Instafreebie gives you a platform that offers a very nice looking leadpage. You don't have to design it, tweak it, or monk with it in any way other than to simply give them the information they need to list your book. Once that's done you get a lead page or opt-in page that looks like this.
If you're a fan of YA romantic fantasy then please feel free to actually visit this instafreebie page and grab a free copy of My Fair Assassin here.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Okay, back to business. Do you notice the way the page is set up? It is required that folks enter their email address in order to claim their book. After all, where exactly would instafreebie send it to. Ya know? Plus they have the option to choose epub for nook, mobi for kindle, or pdf for their computer.
I really love the way this opt-in page is set up. I've nabbed over 2,700 emails at the time of this posting, and I've received lots of emails from these folks thanking me for the book, excited for the next book in the series.
In order to set up an account with Instafreebie just go to their website here. Once there you just click on the sign up button on the top right. That will take you to a page with different payment plans.
There is a free plan, but it doesn't offer you the option of building your list. In other words, the free plan simply allows your books to be delivered to people who are interested, but it doesn't require that people enter their email address.
I suppose if you only want to do giveaways or book teasers then this option is great, but if you really want to build your list, you need to get the next option which is the Plus plan. An added benefit to this is that Instafreebie can integrate your Mail Chimp account if you use that autoresponder service. If not, the emails that are collected will be stored in a CSV file for you to download and import. I go that route since I use Aweber.
The first month is free, and then it's $20 bucks a month after that. I found this to be completely worth it, considering the number of new and engaged readers I've found and added to my subscriber list in such a short time.
Once you choose the Plus plan you enter your information and click the Register button at the bottom. You'll enter in your contact and billing details and from there you'll be taken to your Instafreebie dashboard which looks like this...ahem...minus my books and author name, of course.
You're also given an option to do DRM. That's digital rights management. Instafreebie will put a watermark on your book to prevent it from being shared with people who didn't sign up for your mailing list. If your book is perma-free then I wouldn't do this. The goal is to get as many eyes on your book as possible, even if people don't get your book through Instafreebie. Word of mouth is a big deal.
Fifty Shades of Grey, folks! Need I say more?
If you plan on giving this giveaway an expiration date and the book isn't perma-free then you might consider this option. Authors feel differently about this. For me, it still wouldn't matter. I want people to have access to my books. I want to be discovered by new readers. It's as simple as that, but this decision is totally up to you.
HOW DO I SET UP A GIVEAWAY?
Once you get that information typed in, your book will show up on your dashboard. Click on it, and then click on the button that says New Giveaway. You'll have two options for building your giveaway.
I like the advanced version because I'm all about control and I like to see what all of my options are.
If this giveaway has an expiration date, make sure to enter that in as well as how many copies will be available. Since I'm never ending my giveaways I left those spaces blank. It doesn't make sense for my perma-free books to not be permanently available for everyone who comes to Instafreebie looking for some YA fantasy and romance.
The last two boxes on this page will already be checked. Leave them checked. You want people to be able to share your giveaway and you want it to be public on the internet. Unless you are working a different strategy, but believe me when I say these last two options are for your benefit.
Hit next and then make sure people are required to opt-in before they receive their free book. Otherwise, what's the point?
Enter a name for your mailing list. Example: C.J. Anaya's Awesome Newsletter. Make sure it is something people won't mind being added to. Then hit the button at the bottom.
I wouldn't do the password protected thing, but that is completely up to you since I have no idea how you want to utilize Instafreebie. Then you choose which format options will be available. Make sure they are all available. It widens your reach of readers.
Once that's done you'll be given a link to your giveaway. Make sure you go to that link so you can test it out and correct anything that needs correcting.
HOW DO I DRIVE TRAFFIC TO MY GIVEAWAY?
After that, it's all about driving people to that particular opt-in page. I've got some great suggestions for you on that front. It's all about Instafreebie Facebook groups. Here are a few groups to get you started.
#FreebieFriday on #Instafreebie
Instafreebie Push and So Much More
Instafreebie Share Group
These groups are great for cross-promoting Instafreebie giveaways. Generally a person will post about an Instafreebie promotion they are doing, looking for specific writers in specific genres to join them. The Instafreebie books will be listed on one webpage and then each author participating will share the Instafreebie promotion with their newsletter and on social media. You're basically sharing each others audiences, growing your reach, and finding new targeted leads for you subscriber list. It's very effective.
There are temporary cross-promotions and permanent ones. Here are some permanent listings you can be a part of. You'll find my books there too.
Renee's Author Spotlight
Sign up for this listing here.
The Prolific Reader
Sign up for this listing here.
SFF Mega Promo
Sign up for this listing here.
You can also go to these sites if you are interested in some free reading of your own. Make sure you share the sites with others as much as possible.
Please note that the sign up links can change as time passes. I will try to keep this updated, but if you find a link broken simply visit the Instafreebie Facebook groups and ask the members how you can sign up for specific promotions. Or you can contact the people running the promos on their websites. Super easy.
When you sign up to be in different promotions make sure you participate in promoting them. It's insanely rude to rely on others to promote the Instafreebie giveaway without any effort on your part. We all win when we all collaborate and promote each other. You'll most likely receive instructions via email from whoever is heading the campaign at the time. Be sure to respond and follow the instructions to get the most out of these promo periods.
It's always free to be in these promos. So it makes absolutely no sense to not take part in them.
WHAT DO I DO WITH THE PEOPLE WHO OPT-IN?
As I mentioned before, you can either integrate Mail Chimp into your account or you can just download the CSV file provided and import those people into your autoresponder. I create an Instafreebie list on Aweber. Once I add the most current subscribers to that particular list, I generally like to send out an email explaining who I am, why they are receiving an email from me, and what to expect from me in the future. I also let them know that they can unsubscribe from my list with no hard feelings.
I highly recommend you do this simply because some people won't remember they signed up and won't remember who you are. I've uploaded a copy of this email for you to look over and get ideas. Copy and tweak it however you wish.
I truly hope this information helps you to exponentially grow your email list. I know the $20 investment may seem like a lot when you first get started, but it will be well worth it when your awesome fans start buying those books and developing a wonderful relationship with you. Some of my most favorite and fun-loving fans have come from my Instafreebie giveaways.
If you haven't grabbed that Instafreebie account yet you can get it here. The sooner you start the faster you build that mailing list.
The Blond Guerrilla
The Blond Guerrilla is your one-stop guide to all things Indie writing, self-publishing, and marketing! I hope you find everything you need to make your author journey a success.
Need some one-on-one coaching? Set up a call with me on Clarity. I'll be happy to answer your questions. Just click on the green button below.
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